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Direct-Care Workers in the News

December 23, 2014

Several media outlets around the country have spotlighted the direct-care workforce in recent weeks.

The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch delved into Ohio’s home care system with a package of articles and video segments entitled “Home Care Crisis,” published from December 14 to 16.

Written by reporters Rita Price and Ben Sutherly, the articles examine the state of home care in Ohio from several different angles, including from a workforce perspective.

One article, citing PHI data, explains that “personal care aides are expected to be the source of the largest number of new jobs across the U.S. economy” in the coming years. Yet in Ohio, as in the rest of the country, home care jobs are low quality, offering meager wages and little in the way of benefits.

In another article, home care aide Shakira Gresham says she is thinking about quitting her job and working at a nearby gas station. “They’re paying more. And that’s wrong,” she said.

Star Tribune

The Minnesota Star Tribune looked at the growth of highly profitable yet poorly regulated home care chains — a trend one long-term care expert refers to as the “McDonaldization of home care.”

“Thanks to light regulation and low barriers to entry…thousands of people with no medical experience are getting into the caregiving business,” the Star Tribune’s Chris Serres reports in the December 14 article.

To maximize profits, many home care franchisees pay low wages to home care workers, which leads directly to high turnover and low quality of care, Serres reports.

Slate

Women’s Work,” a December 17 article in Slate‘s Double X blog, argues that the projected growth in home care jobs exemplifies the problems with the “women’s jobs recovery” frequently touted by the media.

While health care and education jobs are booming, many of those jobs are of poor quality, with unpredictable hours and poor pay, reporter Heather Rogers argues.

Rogers identifies Jasmine Almodovar, a 31-year-old home health aide, as “the face of the women’s jobs recovery.”

“While work is plentiful, the pay and working conditions are often abysmal,” Rogers writes.

Times Record

As the baby boomer generation ages into retirement, the demand for caregivers — both paid and unpaid — will explode, a December 15 article in the Times Record of Morris County, New Jersey.

Author Lorraine Ash writes that the state is making efforts to provide “adequate reimbursement rates for home health enterprises that accept Medicaid patients and faster turnaround times for home health care aides who have completed their education to get their licenses.”

AARP

A post published at the AARP Thinking Policy blog on December 11 asks in its title, “What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

AARP Public Policy Institute Senior Strategic Policy Adviser Lynn Friss Feinberg writes that the economic necessity of having two wage earners per family has taken away the option of full-time, unpaid caregiving for most families.

The U.S. needs “larger and higher-quality paid workforce to provide supportive services and mechanisms to help families afford paid care,” Feinberg writes.

— by Matthew Ozga

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